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Best Chew Toys for Dogs

By: Jace MacDonald

     Over the years, many kinds of toys and chew bones have been developed and put out on the market for us dog owners to purchase. Let’s face it, dogs need to chew!  For young dogs, it’s a way to relieve pain that might be caused by incoming teeth. For older dogs, it’s nature’s way of keeping jaws strong and teeth clean. Chewing also combats boredom and can relieve mild anxiety or frustration. However, which chew toys or items are the best? Which ones are safe for our furry friends? Let’s dive in and look at what’s best for our dogs!

First, let’s start with what is not good or safe for dogs to chew on.

  1. Rawhides: rawhides are a common chew bone that pet owners give their dogs, however I do not recommend giving these to our dogs. Rawhides do not digest at all in the dogs’ stomach, they cannot break it down. So, if the dog breaks off a chunk and swallows it, you run the risk of that chunk causing blockage in your dogs’ stomach. Blockage in the stomach can cause many medical issues, the biggest one being bloat which is very fatal to dogs if not immediately treated.
  2. Cooked bones: cooked bones of any kind are bad for your dog. Bones that are cooked will splinter and break apart easily, resulting in a high risk of choking, and potential damage to their throat, mouth, or intestines.
  3. Plastic Bottles: Many dog owners will give their pets a plastic bottle to chew on because it’s cheap and the dogs like the crunch of the bottle. However, plastic bottles are a big safety hazard for dogs. The cap on the bottle can come off and be swallowed whole, and the plastic, when chewed, will break apart and become sharp edges that the dog can cut its lips and gums on.
  4. Rocks: Now more likely than not, people are not giving their dogs rocks to chew on. Some dogs though, when in the park or out on a walk will try to grab a rock and chew on it. If this happens make sure to get it from them as soon as you can. Rocks can cause dogs teeth to break if chewed on long enough and run a risk of being swallowed and choked on.
  5. Soft Toys: I strongly advocate against giving our dogs stuffed or soft toys. First off, it’s not natural for dogs to chew on soft fuzzy things and has no health benefits to it. Our dogs’ ancestors did not hunt and kill their pray just to rip off and play with the fur of the animal. No, they needed the meat and the bones to provide nutrients and survive. With that said, soft toys provide no real benefit to our dogs. They do not meet any of the dogs’ animalistic needs. On top of that, if a dog chews and swallows pieces of the fabric, it can create digestive issues, blockage, and strained defecation.

Now that we have covered what is not good for our dogs, let’s talk about what I recommend for them to chew on.

  1. Raw bones: Raw, unlike cooked, have a significantly less chance of breaking apart or splintering. Raw bones also will likely have some raw meet around it and the marrow inside. Both of those are edible and healthy for our dogs. They provide access to nutrients as well as clean the dogs’ teeth. You can get these at your local butcher or grocery store. Raw femur bones are my favorite, and I can get a 4-pack for $6. The best part, you can reuse the bones once your dog has eaten all the meat and marrow from it.
  2. Lumabone or Benebone: These are name brand synthetic bones made of nylon – a thermoplastic polymer that can be turned into fabric, toothbrushes, car parts, and plastic film for food. The Lumabone and Benebone products are my favorite synthetic bones to use because of their durability compared to others. I have a Pitbull mix and she chews hard! I can purchase a three pack of these bones and have them last up to two months! These bones however are not edible, and you should monitor your dog when chewing these to make sure they do not break off a piece and swallow it. You will also want to discard the bone after usual wear and tear. If you are a responsible owner, you should have no issues allowing your dog to chew on these. To get yours today click here
  3. Bully Sticks: Unlike rawhides, bully sticks are completely digestible and healthy for your dog. They are made from high protein beef muscle and offer your dog a variety of health benefits. The only downside to these, is that they usually do not last long. Most dogs can finish an entire bully stick in one sitting of 20-30min. For that reason they are a great treat, but not something you want to give to satisfy your dogs’ urge to chew long-term.

     So, there you have it guys! Next time you are out shopping for your dog, keep these in mind. Remember what is good and what is bad, or potentially harmful for your dog, and they will be thanking you!

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